A large part of the activity of United Nations related with Environment is carried out by specialized agencies established by the General Assembly or by some other sub-division of the United Nations System- Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) etc. are such bodies.
These bodies are, however, distinct from semi-autonomous organizations like, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) or United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which are established directly by treaties among member states and are therefore more important organizations devoted to some specific cause.
Like development or environmental protection. There are 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of which only seven or eight are involved in matter concerning wild life and environment. These are:
1. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which was established in 1945, now represented by 136 member countries.
2. International Labour Organization (ILO), which was established in 1919, now a part of UN System represented by 140 member states.
3. International Maritime Organization (IMO), which was established in 1958, and is currently represented by 101 member states.
4. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which was established in 1945, and is presently represented by 141 member states.
5. World Health Organization (WHO), which was established in 1948, and is now represented by 145 member countries.
6. World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which was established in 1950 and now has 145 member countries.
7. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which was established in 1946 and is currently represented by 128 member states.
8. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which was established as a special body in 1965 and as a specialized agency with 151 member states in 1988.
These specialized agencies of the United Nations have played a diverse role in development and implementation of global environmental protection policy. They are instrumental in providing information, guidance, necessary means, and sponsorships of various projects, conferences and conventions as and when required for the efforts of conservation of nature, natural resources and the environment.